Mecklenburg wins spelling bee

Published 4:35 pm Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pictured is Cass County’s best speller, Edwardsburg seventh-grader Kori Mecklenburg, 12. (Argus photo/JOHN EBY)

Pictured is Cass County’s best speller, Edwardsburg seventh-grader Kori Mecklenburg, 12. (Argus photo/JOHN EBY)

DOWAGIAC — After coming in third last year, Edwardsburg seventh-grader Kori Mecklenburg was determined to win Monday’s 28th annual Cass County Spelling Bee.

Kori’s diligence paid dividends as the 12-year-old outlasted Marcellus eighth-grader Jack Kison in the 12th round at Southwestern Michigan College.

“I went out with a bang,” said Jack, who did not compete in 2010, but finished eighth as a sixth-grader.

“She deserves it more. She probably studied more than I did, but this is still great. I wasn’t expecting it,” Jack said.

Kori’s win padded Edwardsburg’s victory margin by 15 points.

Dowagiac’s highest finisher, Jamin Hunt, is only a fifth-grader and made it to the seventh round.

“I practiced a lot more,” Kori said. “If I could get to third last year, I was sure I would be able to get first place. I read a lot, I’m in ninth grade math and I do cheerleading. I play piano and soccer. My two brothers are on the team.”

In team contests during the morning, Marcellus eighth-graders, with 44, and Dowagiac, with 43, both surpassed Edwardsburg’s 35. Cassopolis tallied 33.

In seventh grade, Cassopolis and Edwardsburg tied at 42, with Dowagiac at 31.

Sixth grade teams also saw a tie at 41 between Cassopolis and Edwardsburg, with Dowagiac third at 34 and Marcellus trailing with 31.

Edwardsburg carried fifth grade competition with 46, to 41 for Dowagiac, 40 for Marcellus and 32 for Cassopolis.

Back and forth they went. He spelled curriculum and she spelled synopsis in the ninth round.

Ten, Jack handled “acronym,” Kori dispatched “dyslexia.”

Eleven, he had “chronology;” she had “fahrenheit.”

In the 12th, Jack stumbled on “salmonella,” which Kori spelled correctly, followed by “buccaneer” to clinch the win.

She wins a county spelling champion trophy, a $50 U.S. savings bond and a blue ribbon, while Jack took away a $50 savings bond and a red ribbon.

Scrabble games were also awarded to Jamin and to fifth-place finisher Braden Curtis of Edwardsburg.

Lewis Cass Intermediate School District sponsors the event, coordinated by Brian Wood, director of instructional services.

Cass County Historical Commission donates prizes and monetary awards.